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DVLA Medical - Drink Driving
The High Risk Offender Scheme (HRO)
May of 1983 saw the HRO (high risk offenders) scheme being introduced. High risk offenders are drivers who are convicted of repeated and/or serious drink driving offences.
High Risk Offenders are drivers who:
Courts do not automatically inform a person that they are a high risk offender.
Under the high risk offenders scheme, those drivers who have been convicted of any of the offences above will be require to satisfy the DVLA of their fitness to drive by taking a DVLA medical medical examination arranged by DVLA and satisfactory medical reports from their own doctor(s) may be required.
Satisfactory medical reports will need to be obtained before a drivers licence is re-instated under this scheme.
The DVLA will notify offenders covered by the high risk offenders scheme and inform them of what they need to do in order to successfully apply for the return of their driving licence.
There will be a fee to pay for the application of the driving licence and a separate fee to pay for the necessary medical examination by a DVLA appointed doctor.
The DVLA DRINK DRIVING Medical
The DVLA should contact any driver who is covered by the high risk offender scheme approximately two to three months before their driving disqualification ends to inform them of all necessary steps to be taken and how to arrange the medical examination.
The Medical Examination
The medical examination is designed to assess a drivers overall fitness to drive, with a focus on any past or present alcohol abuse or misuse problems. High risk offenders will be required to provide a sample of blood, a urine sample and undergo a brief physical medical examination including an eye test. The doctor will also perform a medical interview which will involve a series of questions that the high risk offender must answer.
Blood Sample Testing
Previous DVLA medical blood tests consisted of liver function tests which tested the following biomarkers:
The Secretary of State's Honorary Medical Advisory Panel has now decided that use of the CDT (Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin) biomarker would now be used as the sole test for assessing the harmful use of alcohol for high risk offenders.
CDT (Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin)
The CDT biomarker is reportedly more accurate with the percentage of false positives being relatively low compared to other biomarkers. In a Department of Transport Study (Road Safety Research Report No. 104, 2010), CDT test results were able to identify drinking indicative of harmful or dependent alcohol intake significantly more accurate than other biomarkers.
The CDT test results will operate using a traffic light system of green, amber and red which will correspond to a range of %CDT cut off levels for licensing purposes.
GREEN - %CDT < 2.2%
A CDT level of less than 2.2% is considered to be in the normal range and indicates no excessive alcohol intake. A person whose CDT level falls within this range is identified as consuming little or no alcohol and is compatible for licensing.
AMBER - %CDT = 2.3 - 2.9%
A CDT level of between 2.3% to 2.9% is considered to be indicative of possible problematic alcohol consumption. A person whose CDT levels fall within this range is identified as someone who may drink to excess or binge drinks regularly and will trigger further enquiries with that persons general practitioner before a licensing decision is made.
RED - %CDT > 3%
A CDT level greater than 3% is considered to be indicative of alcohol consumption in a dependent manner. A person whose CDT levels fall within this range is identified as someone who is dependent on alcohol and a license will be refused.
The %CDT cut off levels were up to date at the time of publishing although the medical advisory panel may review and change the cut off levels at any time.
DVLA Medical Examination Results
If there is evidence of persistent alcohol misuse within the past 6 months or alcohol dependency within the past 12 months or there is evidence of current ongoing alcohol misuse or dependency then a high risk offenders application for a driving licence will be refused.
Driving licence refusal due to alcohol dependence or misuse
If the driving licence application is refused then the high risk offender will be informed what they must do and any relevant time period before a driving licence may be issued.
If the refusal was due to alcohol misuse then a minimum period of six months controlled drinking or abstinence must be attained alongside normalisation of blood parameters.
If the refusal was due to alcohol dependence then a one year period free of alcohol problems must be attained and abstinence will normally be required alongside normalisation of blood parameters if relevant.
Driving licence restoration after refusal
If a driving licence has been refused due to alcohol dependence or misuse then satisfactory medical reports from the high risk offenders own doctor(s) will be required and another DVLA medical may have to be undertaken.
Temporary driving licence
In certain circumstances a temporary one, two or three year driving licence may be issued.
A temporary driving licence is usually issued when alcohol dependency or misuse is uncertain and cannot be corroborated and/or where a high risk offender has a previous history of alcohol dependency or persistent alcohol misuse, but has satisfactory examination and blood tests. If this is the case then the high risk offender will have to submit to another DVLA medical examination after a one, two or three year period.
The responsibility for making the decision about whether or not a person should continue to drive is that of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), with the doctor(s) acting only as a source of information and advice.
High risk offenders right to appeal
A high risk offender has the right to appeal to a magistrates court or to a sheriff court if they live in Scotland about any decision to withhold or revoke their driving licence by the DVLA.
In order to make a successful appeal they should instruct a solicitor who is familiar with the necessary procedures. An appeal must be made within 6 months of the decision being made by the DVLA.
How will I know if I need to go for a medical?
The DVLA will write to you and inform you if you need to go for a medical shortly after your court case and subsequent conviction and driving disqualification. They should also write to you approximately 90 days before your driving disqualification is due to end with all necessary information regarding re-applying for your driving licence and arranging the medical.
If you do not receive notification by the DVLA which is often the case if you have completed the Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course or you have changed address, simply request a 'D1 Pack - Application for a driving licence for a car, moped or motorcycle' either online from the DVLA or at your local post office. You can re-apply for your driving licence up to 56 days before your disqualification is due to end.
Once you have received your D1 pack, fill it out as instructed and return it to the DVLA along with the appropriate fee, they will then make the necessary arrangements and contact you regarding your medical.
Do I have to pay for the medical?
Yes. You will have to cover the cost of the medical. In addition to this, you will need to pay the application fee for a new driving licence.
How long will the medical take?
The medical examination should take approximately thirty minutes or so to complete.
How long will it take to get the results of my medical?
If the DVLA can make a decision based on the information provided including all relevant medical results they aim to make a decision on most cases within 15 working days.
If they need to investigate further and require more information from their medical advisors or your GP then they aim to make a decision on most cases within 90 working days.
This will be in addition to the time it takes for blood samples to be sent for testing and analysis which should take no longer than a week or so.
You MUST contact the DVLA to ascertain your legal entitlement to drive if you do not currently have a valid & up to date drivers licence in your possession.
NEW LEGISLATION EFFECTIVE JUNE 1st 2013
Section 88 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 which previously allowed certain drivers, including those classified as high risk offenders to legally drive if their driving disqualification had ended and a qualifying drivers licence application had been received by the DVLA no longer applies to any person convicted on or after 1st June 2013.
The new legislation only applies to any conviction in respect to which a disqualification is imposed on or after 1st June 2013.
Any high risk offender convicted and disqualified before 1st June 2013, who are not currently disqualified and a qualifying driving licence application has been received by the DVLA may still retain legal entitlement to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 while awaiting the DVLA to determine their fitness to drive.
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